THE BLOG
11/28/2016 03:32 pm ET Updated Nov 29, 2017

The Power To Change Your Past

So many people today are bitter, broken-hearted, or just plain angry because of what happened to them while growing up.

The reasons for their resentment or regret are as countless as are the unconscionable people responsible for the pain they unknowingly created in the lives of those they hurt. But nothing that happened "yesterday"--as horrendous as it may have been--has authority over the present moment, and its new possibilities. We may already sense the truth of this spiritual fact, but have been unable to put its power to work in our lives. So, here's what to do whenever we find ourselves wrapped in the flames of that burning house called our painful past:

Get out of it!

Here's the "how" part...although each of us must see the following truths (that help free us) from ourselves.

The true present moment cannot burn anything, let alone your immortal Self; it is the strange allure of reliving the past that punishes those unwary enough to wander back through it, searching for some resolution that can't be found there.

Any sorrow, resentment, or anxiety brought over and into the living now can only be an echo of some event now past. Try to see this liberating fact:

No pain from the past can make itself present unless the mind, asleep to itself, is deceived into revisiting the painful memory of that misery.

Nevertheless, in the same moment this negative image (replete with dark emotions) is recollected, it is resisted by the same sleeping mind that resurrected it! This reaction makes the unwary a victim of nothing other than having sleepwalked into the stored memories of his or her own unwanted past. Though the pain is real, no doubt, it is a pain born of resisting a dream whose dark content creates misery for anyone caught in its realm.

Which brings us to this key idea for those who wish to leave a conflicted past behind: Who you really are--your immortal Self--doesn't live in the past, and therefore cannot be punished by anything that happened there. If anything, the repeated pain of reliving whatever the problems may have been should show us that we've arrived in the wrong place, led there by wrong parts of us.

Imagine sleep walking into a rundown, dangerous neighborhood, and suddenly awakening to your situation. There's no doubt as to your next action: you would get out of that place as fast as you could. Wisdom, if not pure instinct prevails. The same intelligence should hold true for us when it comes to our spiritual lives. What "once was," lives on only in an unconscious "neighborhood" in ourselves--one where we no longer belong. This in-the-dark level of consciousness is populated with the shadows of former painful experiences, both real and imagined.

But their power over us runs only as deep as we are identified with that dream world into which we have fallen. We "walk out" of there by "waking up"...by bringing our attention back into the Presence of the living moment, where it belongs.

No one can "teach" us to leave the world of "what was," or to abandon those unconscious parts of us that actually need to relive their pain in order to live on; they cannot see themselves for what they are, nor do they want to. We must see them, their world, and the pain of their reality as being something we no longer wish to walk with...or through. Nothing can delay our departure from there, anymore than dark shadows have the power to keep us from walking into the sunlight.

Key Lesson
You cannot do the work of starting life over, and be busy reliving your past at the same time. Being new is a deliberate choice, an act of alignment that places you in conscious contact with a living presence that's incapable of repeating itself.

Excerpted from The Secret of Your Immortal Self by Guy Finley, Llewellyn Worldwide, 2015.

Guy Finley is the best-selling author of more than 40 books and audio albums on self-realization. He is the founder and director of Life of Learning Foundation, a nonprofit center for self-study located in southern Oregon where he gives talks four times each week. For more information and to download Guy's Free 60-minute MP3 "Five Simple Steps to Make Yourself Fearless," visit http://www.GuyFinley.org/kit